DesignCurial in Conversation: Ariane Steinbeck

Ariane Steinbeck is the managing director and driving force of luxury design practice - RPW Design. She revealed to DesignCurial why she hates the idea of ‘trends,’ why all ego’s need to be checked at the door and how you can’t be an authority in the field if you have only lived in one culture!

What exciting projects are you working on at the moment with RPW Design?

In London, we are currently renovating the Intercontinental London Park Lane, the Marriott Grosvenor Square, a casino in a listed building in Mayfair, the Royal Air Force Club and a Hilton Curio in the Docklands.  We are working on 5-star hotels in Hungary, Malta, Georgia other points in Eastern Europe.

What makes RPW unique and different from other design firms?

Our in-depth knowledge of the hospitality market from a business side, which combines seamlessly with the tenure that our senior team has in the hotel design industry.  We are specialists in this field and are great at what we do.  I also believe we offer the finest work environment a designer could wish for.  We are intentionally a small studio of 20 professionals with no intention to grow past that size, so that we can provide the personalized service we would expect from the projects we are working on.  It also affords us the luxury to work on the projects that are the best match for our team.

How would you describe the luxury client and customer?

As client, a well-seasoned hotelier in the luxury segment is always a pleasure to work with.  Our ultimate customer, the guest, deserves the best from the two of us.  That magic that exists when great design and great service come together is rather addictive....

How are the needs and desires of the luxury client changing and evolving?

Other than from a technology standpoint, I don’t think the luxury guest is really changing all that much.  The guest has most likely already experienced the best, and relies on the ability to be able to find privacy and peace—the comfort that everything works well and that his or her needs will be met whatever they may be.

What have been the most challenging projects you have worked on in your career so far?

From a technical standpoint, the Peninsula Hong Kong must still rank at the top for me personally...but really, every location, brand and building type has their challenges.  It only becomes unpleasant when there are divergent interests in the project team when it comes to problem solving.  Egos need to be checked at the door for the benefit of the project at large.

What are the biggest trends in the hospitality and interior design industry that you have noticed recently and you think will impact the industry over the next few years?

Gosh, I wish there was no such thing as a “trend”...I hope more firms like RPW can just focus our energy on great design, design that actually works-- rather than getting attention for attention’s sake?

You are incredibly well-travelled! Has this influenced your creative perspective?

Absolutely.  I don’t know how else one can be an authority in our field if you’ve only lived in one culture, one continent and don’t have a travel obsession?  Seeing, and really analysing projects from our colleagues everywhere I go is mandatory continuing education in my view.

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